• Monday, June 24, 2024


More flights between London, India under air service pact revision: report

The UK’s transport department said the UK-India air service agreement will allow flights between London Heathrow and Delhi and Mumbai to go up from 56 to 70 services a week for airlines in both countries.

TOPSHOT – A British Airways Airbus-A380-841 comes in over the rooftops of residential houses, to land at Heathrow Airport in west London on April 29, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA and the UK have amended their air service agreement, allowing carriers from both nations to operate an additional 14 flights per week from Heathrow to Delhi and Mumbai.

Representatives from India’s civil aviation ministry and the UK’s department for transport (DFT) inked a memorandum of understanding on May 1, though it has not yet been formally announced, The Hindu businessline reported.

The DFT said in a statement that the UK-India air service agreement will allow flights between London Heathrow and Delhi, as well as Mumbai, to increase from 56 to 70 services a week for both UK and Indian airlines starting from this year’s winter, the report added.

However, it added that the decision on the number of additional flights and their timing rests with the airlines themselves.

Read: AI-Vistara merger awaits FDI, other approvals: Singapore Airlines

“Around 300,000 people travel between India and UK every month and total trade in goods and ser­vices between the coun­tries was £39 bil­lion in 2023. We expect this to increase even fur­ther with more flights, con­sol­id­at­ing our strong rela­tion­ship with India and fur­ther sup­port­ing busi­ness, trade and tour­ism,” DFT was quoted as saying.

Read: Labour MP Gareth Thomas writes to airlines requesting direct flights to Gujarat

The revision of the agreement particularly benefits UK carriers that have utilized their entitlement of 56 flights per week, while Indian carriers (such as Air India and Vistara) currently operate 38 flights per week between London Heathrow and Delhi and Mumbai.

Virgin Atlantic recently announced its second London-Mumbai service, starting from the end of October, in anticipation of a rise in traffic rights.

Calling the expansion of traffic rights between India and Heathrow a logical step, Kapil Kaul, CEO of aviation consultancy CAPA India told businessline that it was long over­due but acknowledged that slot con­straints at Heath­row remains a major issue.

In 2023, close to four million passengers travelled between India and the UK with Delhi and London Heathrow airports dominating the traffic, followed by Mumbai and London Gatwick airports. Manchester and Kochi airports secured the third spot.

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